Cooking and the Art of Patience

Anyone who knows me knows how easily a five minute delay or failure to complete projects by deadline irks me. This isn’t a desirable trait in someone who lives for a flexible schedule, loves travel and plans to chuck all traditional planning out the window to head to Vietnam in 17 days for who knows how long.

A few weeks ago, I decided this character flaw of mine needed some work, and that I needed to learn how to cook something with more nutritional value than half-scrambled eggs. Turns out they went perfectly in hand, because avoiding undercooking requires a bit of patience.

The kitchen I’m currently working with has a wonderful stove, but since it’s stocked by a sub-par chef (me), the foods I was working with included week-old potatoes, many different types of cheese, peanut butter, hummus, popcorn, one yellow bell pepper and half an onion.

Oh, and I bought soy sauce a few weeks ago too. That stayed in the cabinet though, alongside the can of chili (hurricane provisions?) and ketchup.

I ended up frying slices of the potato in a pan with the bell pepper and onion.

See, so tempting and full of vegetable!

See, so tempting and full of vegetable!

My mission began with the olive oil and a frying pan. Instructions said to heat the oil until a slice of potato sizzled when tossed in the pan. It took about five of these tests for the heat to be sufficient.

Then I had to learn that browning actually meant browning and not just sort of softening, and that overcooking a potato is vastly preferable to the other end of the spectrum. Also raw onion, while interesting in texture, isn’t the best way to go.

I ended up with a half-edible meal that incorporated vegetables, which is more than I can say for recent meals that may or may not include three straight days of eating pepperoni pizza.

And as far as my patience goes, that’s not something one cooking adventure will fix, but it’s getting better. My fried potatoes range from crispy chip-like concoctions to almost-mashed in consistency, but that’s because of personal choice, not a rush to shove food down my throat.

I’ve got the whole rest of my life stretching out before me, why not savor the extra couple moments it takes to try all sorts of potatoes?


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